October 2, 2019
Every wedding, I try to build at least 15 minutes into the timeline to allow me to photograph the reception area untouched. This means I try to photograph a wide shot of the entire room, centerpieces, and tablescapes without anyone in the reception area and before guests sit down. No chairs pulled out, no coats laid down, no napkins unfolded, etc. – just like the bride wanted it set up.
Now, these photos are not AT ALL my top priority on the wedding day! The most important photos are obviously the ceremony and all the portraits! I would never sacrifice precious bride and groom portrait time just to get photos of the reception set up before anyone arrives!
However, even though it’s not of utmost importance, I still try to capture it! There are many ways to fit it in the timeline, and I have a few reasons why it’s important to have them in your final wedding gallery!
- Most of the time, the majority of the bride’s time in planning the wedding is spent on the reception part of the day. This is where the most vendors are involved, this is where it takes the most room to actually make happen, and this is where the guests are going to spend the most time at their wedding. The ceremony takes time planning, but in my experience, not at all like the reception does! Because the bride has spent so much time brainstorming ideas, designing, and styling, as well as the work of setting it up, I want to be sure I get beautiful photos of her hard work. Wedding days go fast and soon, everything will be torn down. If I didn’t take any photos, she wouldn’t have anything to show for all her work. A lot of times, the wedding planner will be taking care of some of these details regarding the reception, but she likes photos of it too…which brings my to my next reason!
- With so many vendors involved (planner, venue, florist, caterer, DJ, rentals, linens, bakery, lighting, and more!), there are hours upon hours of work invested into making everything come together for the bride and groom. For me as the photographer, it’s important for me to get photos of their hard work too! I love giving them something to show for their time and effort spent, and they love having photos to share on their website and social media!
- Having these photos makes your blog post and final gallery complete. If I captured every single part of the day except photos of the decor she so carefully planned, it would seem like I’m missing something…because I am.
Not all brides will care for these photos like other brides do, and that’s okay! They are not nearly as important as capturing some of the other real moments of the day. But, if we plan ahead and find time in the timeline for me to capture these, you get the best of both worlds! If your ceremony and reception is at the same location, the perfect time for me to photograph untouched reception details is after family formals and before the ceremony begins – this is when the wedding party is in hiding. This always works out really well because otherwise, it would be down time for me!
If your ceremony and reception are not at the same location, that’s okay! It’s a little bit more difficult, but I can always make it work just fine! I recommend having your cocktail hour in a separate area than your reception – this way I still have time to get untouched details while guests are mingling! If you can, have the venue staff lock the doors to the reception area if needed! It might seem overboard, but it helps me get my job done faster if no one’s around! It’s also difficult for the venue staff or caterers to get their job done, such as light candles or fill water glasses, while guests are walking around.